the minister says one of the three rescue shafts is now 535 meters deep, less than 100 meters short of the miners' cavern. rescuers plan to install steel piping inside the shaft to reduce the risk of rock fall before pulling out the miners one by one in a rescue capsule. the installation of the piping may take up to eight days. it's possible all the miners will be brought to the surface by the end of next week. the miners have been stranded in an underground shelter since the august 5th cave-in at a mine near the northern city of co of copiapo. france's top constitutional authority has endorsed a law to ban women from wearing islamic face-covering veils. this clears the hurdle for the first such law in europe to take effect next spring. the law to ban islamic veils called burqa or nikab passed both houses of parliament last month. lawmakers say the veils infringe on the principle of gender equality and create security
concerns when faces are hidden from view in public. however, the constitutional council had been asked to rule on the law's constitutionality after opposition parties argued that the ban violates the constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion and expression. on thursday the council announced that the law conforms to the constitution, saying it is the people's right to see a person's face in public. starting next spring, anyone wearing a veil in public will receive a fine of 150 euros, or about $200. a fine of up to 30,000 euros, or over $40,000, and a jail term of up to one year will be imposed on those that force a woman to wear a veil. the u.n. refugee agency is calling on iraq to establish a new government as soon as possible to promote the return of people displaced in the country due to war and sectarian violence. in iraq about 1.5 million people are living away from home seven years after the start of the
2003 iraq war. the u.n.hcr deputy chief in iraq tariq kurdi told nhk that less than 10,000 displaced people have returned home per month since january. the number is about half, or 2/3 compared to last year. kurdi said that in a u.n.h.c.r. survey of 4,000 displaced people 44% said they can't go home because the government is unstable. he pointed out that the inability to launch a new government after parliamentary elections in march is causing safety concerns and discouraging people from returning home. >> this situation, this vacuum has created a level of lack of confidence in the refugees, in the idps. >> kurdi said it's important to establish a new administration and to provide stable security in the country. a deported environmental activist says that after his
protest boat was damaged in a collision with a japanese whaling vessel the leader of the anti-whaling group sea shepherd ordered him to scuttle the craft in order to raise public sympathy. peter bethune's high-speed boat the "ady gil" collided with a japanese research whaler in the antarctic ocean in january. the sea shepherd conservation group insisted that the boat sank due to damage caused by the collision. on thursday bethune spoke to radio new zealand and said that sea shepherd founder paul watson ordered the ship's sinking to garner public sympathy and then the crew intentionally let water in. he said the boat could have been salvaged if towed to the nearest port. watson responded in a statement saying that he did not order the sinking and that bethune was the only person in a position to make such a decision. bethune was indicted by the tokyo district court for illegally boarding a japanese research whaler in february and for throwing a bottle of chemicals on deck, causing a
crew member to severe minor injuries. he was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for five years, and was deported to new zealand in july. now, how are the latest economic data out this morning affecting the markets? shery ahn from the business desk has more on that. shery? >> thanks, catherine. japan's trade surplus fell to $2.4 billion in august for the first time in 15 months. this is down over 35% in yen terms from a year ago. according to the finance ministry's preliminary report, the current account surplus was down 5.8% to about $13.6 billion due to the downturn in the trade surplus. it was the first year on-year decrease in two months. on the other hand, the income balance had a slight surplus. it stood at about $13.5 billion. that's up 4.4% compared with a year earlier. and japan will set aside over $60 billion as an extra budget
thesssmenpan' growi d and tonge dentedmi growth. another key negative factor is the country's political uncertaiy. withapan now having its fifth f years, ogawa says the could face rough roads ahead in implementing growtd reoring fis. unless the government tackles these issues, ogawa says the nation's sovereign credit could. >> there might be a potential risk of the sudden increase of the interest cost of the government. or in worst case scenario japan might have the close to default or actual default situation. ply the size of the igh and the interest cost getting too high
for the government to be able to repay on timing. >> reporter: ogawa also says japan needs to find ways to spur growth witho fiscal stimulus. coo utilize the bestt we need to sectors,money, because the government is having a lot of fiscal deficit, so the financial flexibility is rather limited. in a sense that if the government allowed to have more deregulations oucra reform of the public or, that mighto induce the new type of theuses or new money to invest in certain segment of the market. that could to some extent help
crease the size of the economic activities. >>ri misr nto kan asked tax authorities to review the country's corporate tax rate in a bid to boost business compitens. focus is on whether measures such as this wouldomehrough in time and how effective they'll be in getting the economy back on track. nolesak a look at the latest market figures. ♪
>> that's all for biz. and now back to caere. >> thanks very much, shery. well, a district court in japan has rejected evidence in a fraud case which was gatre b precorduring the interrogation process. the move is likely toue public mistrust in prosecutors following an earlier case that involved evidence tampering. the osaka district court decided on thursday not to admit 12 documents in the case of a former pr eciv the executive was accused of unlawfully using a postal discount service for people with disabilities. chf dgnobuyuki yokota said prosecutors coerced the suspect, toru abe, by threatening to arrest his son and members of hi aff. the judge also said that a prosecutor violently pounded on a desk during the interrogation. although the defendant did not
ny the charge, the judge refused todmit 1 of the prosecutors' records into evidence. the investigation into abe triggered a postal abuse charge against atsuko moraki. yka lsth presiding judge in muraki's case. in that hearing the judge rejected t statements of one of muraki's subordinates and said the prosecutor's esong sinappropriate. muraki was acquitted, but a prosecutor and his superiors were arrested for tampering with evidence andttptg t cer up their actions. japanese companies and organizations in the geothermal power generationndtry will cooperate to sell plants abroad amid growing global competition. geothermal power generation harnesses hot steam, drawn from underground magma reservoirs and emits little carbon dioxide. demand for geothermal power plants is expected to increase in countri with volcanos. a group of 20 companies and organizations will work to gain
more orders for large-scale projects overseas. the group includes kyushu electric power compan sumitomo corporation, and fuji electric. japan has the largest share of the world's geothermal power plant market but they expect increased competition with firms in europe, the uted states, south korea and other asian countries. the japanese group plans to propose large-scale projects in countries such as indonesia and new zealand, which are in volcanic zones and have expressed interest in the method. the group hopes to win orders as early as next year. a survey shows japan's digital content market including music, movies, and games, has shrunk to the smallest level in a decade. the digital content association of japan conducted the survey. it says the market amounted to about $147 billion last year, that's down about 6% from the previous year. the decline was most conspicuous
in music cds, down 19% year on year. game software was also down by 16%. the association attributes the decline to japan's stagnant economy and low birth rate. it also says the growing online distribution of low-cost or free music and games has had an impact. one bright spot was sales of concert tickets, up 1.2%. the association says consumers are divided between buying low-priced software and shelling out for more costly concerts. the number of people killed in traffic accidents in japan is dropping. just the same, statistics show pedestrians over the age of 65 often get killed by vehicles. in fact, of the pedestrians who die in car accidents, half are 65 or older. next we see what a local action group is doing to reduce the number of deaths.
nhk world's uema mitami has more. >> reporter: in april an 81-year-old man crossing a street is hit by a van and dies. here is a simulation based on the police report. the man starts to cross the street. just before he reaches the other side, a van hits him. police say the driver wasn't paying enough attention. why are so many elderly pedestrians hit by vehicles? we visit a road safety class that demonstrates that crossing the street is dangerous. seniors are asked to cross a street without a traffic light. they must watch for approaching
cars. many seniors fail the test and are hit by cars. >> translator: i started crossing because i thought the car was pretty far away, but i guess the car was coming faster, or maybe i'm just too slow. >> translator: many seniors aren't aware of the fact that they are walking more slowly. i believe this causes so many car accidents among seniors. >> reporter: many elderly people think they walk faster than they actually do, so even under normal circumstances they face risks. this area attracts seniors, because it has facilities they need, like shopping centers, health clinics and pharmacies.
in this area, senior citizens often jaywalk. isoo shintani tries to prevent traffic accidents in the area. after seeing so many elderly people involved in accidents, he started interviewing local residents. this 85-year-old woman used to jaywalk every day to reach a shopping center. her right leg hurts. she finds it difficult to walk to the pedestrian crossing, even though it's nearby.
>> reporter: the group compiled a risk map after studying 223 dangerous locations. the group identified six frequent jaywalking spots near the train station alone. they include areas near the hospital and public auditorium. seniors often cross at this spot in the early morning and evening, when it's dark. the area has no pedestrian traffic lights. even though traffic is heavy. nearby, there is a cemetery. many seniors visit the graves in the morning or evening. the group plans to give the maps to drivers and ask them to be more careful. >> translator: we want people to
be aware of dangerous spots near their houses. i hope everyone will cooperate to prevent accidents. >> shintani's group has printed 9,000 copies of the risk map. they gave the maps to neighborhood councils and local businesses. they also plan to ask the police department to install traffic lights and signs. now let's take a look at the global weather forecast with sumi zushi. hi there. welcome back to your world weather update. well, here in tokyo we started off on a sunny note. it will turn cloudy, though, in the afternoon. we've got rains that are developing down in the south bringing some hefty showers, especially toward the pacific side of the country, and will be making its way across the rest of the country this weekend. brushing against the korean peninsula as well on your friday but northeastern china, northern areas of china as well as central and much of southern areas staying in the dry.
up in the north areas, going to be rain moving across mongolia once again, bringing cooler conditions as well. that will turn to snow and sleet at nighttime as well, so a little bit chilly for you. then down in the south, the gulf of tonking still looking at torrential downpours to continue into the weekend. it's been raining here for about a week now. flooding has been a major problem. hundreds of villages inundated. we really don't want any more rain, but it looks like there will be more heavy rains continuing over the next 48 hours. looking at upwards of 200 millimeters in some areas, so it is going to be more likely to trigger the -- more natural disasters such as flooding and landslides. over towards the bay of bengal as well, bangladesh seeing those flood warnings in place. we've got heavy rainfalls expected in the next 48 hours, upwards of 200 millimeters in the low-lying area of
bangladesh. so it is going to be very susceptible to flooding and landslides here and also out at sea. conditions expected to be very, very stormy indeed. as for temperatures, 27 degrees in hong kong today. mild and sunny in beijing, 23. and then coming in at 23 for seoul as well. let's head to the atlantic then. we have a very storm system in place. this will be tropical storm otto. it has already brought flooding rains in puerto rico. the good news, that it is going to continue to move further and further away from these islands, but over the next 48 hours, we likely will see heavy rainfall in some of these islands such as the northern leeward islands, the virgin islands, and also puerto rico as well. so you do need to stay on the watch for the next day or so. now, across north america it's -- not much has changed since yesterday. high pressure system firmly in control over towards the east. we also have lots of wet and windy weather expected up in eastern canada for newfoundland and also quebec.
a little bit wet once again for british columbia as well, bringing rain into vancouver and then for the united states, looking at pockets of severe storms to break out for the four corners tonight. strong thunderstorms and also large hail as well as tornadoes anticipated on your thursday night. that rain, though, will be moving further towards the north as we head into your friday. generally, it's going to be mild today. 23 in denver, warming up to 28 in los angeles and down in the east as well, the southeast, 28 degrees in atlanta and warm in washington, d.c. 23 degrees for your daytime high. that's all for me just now. here is your extended forecast.